POV: Formula for Excellence
Jul 1, 2006 12:00 PM, By Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D.
Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States, said, “It is easier to do a job right than explain why you didn't.” That adage certainly applies to the AV industry. With the rapid acceleration of technology, it is essential that system integrators ensure equipment being incorporated into boardrooms, classrooms, and other facilities functions correctly, becoming a benefit to the user rather than a hindrance.
In the audiovisual industry, there is a great commitment to quality. Yet many industry members note access to qualified employees as the leading obstacle to future growth in our burgeoning industry. InfoComm is making great strides in addressing the need for quality control in the AV industry and views certification, education, and collaboration as the keys to a successful and healthy industry.
Certification is a mark of excellence that ensures quality. The Certified Technology Specialist designation was created by InfoComm for AV professionals demonstrating knowledge and comprehension of the science and technology used in communications, including audio, video, display, and systems. Technicians, engineers, designers, salespeople, customer service personnel, managers, and executives are eligible to take the general certification testing. The CTS moniker is recognized both inside and outside the industry and is the only AV certification recognized by the National Certification Commission.
InfoComm also offers CTS-D and CTS-I certification, which indicates at least two years of design or installation experience and a higher skill level than the general CTS designation. InfoComm International offers courses through InfoComm Academy to help candidates refine their skills, and knowledge and certification testing is offered at various locations around the world throughout the year.
Companies can also earn certification as InfoComm's designation of Certified AudioVisual Solutions Provider (CAVSP) by demonstrating their commitment to certification and professional excellence. Companies can achieve Basic, Silver, or Gold CAVSP levels based on the proportion of their technical sales and customer service personnel who earn general or specialized individual certification. The dependability factor has never been more important in business, and firms that want to do it right the first time know they can rely on CAVSP companies.
Education is another element which provides a pathway to excellence. As a former educator, I am a fervent supporter of the concept of lifelong learning. From online classes for technical support staff to in-depth project management for executives, InfoComm offers a wide array of educational solutions for companies concerned about quality.
One of InfoComm's newest classes, “Project Management: Competencies and Structure,” is a foundational course providing the practical knowledge and hands-on exercises needed to start and complete a project successfully. The curriculum focuses on the project lifecycle phases, the corresponding project management processes, and the nine knowledge areas. The class also allows participants to learn project management best practices with AV industry-specific case studies and start working toward certain designations and increased credibility with clients. The training is recognized by the prestigious Project Management Institute (PMI) and is conducted by a PMI Registered Education Provider.
InfoComm also offers a related class, “Project Management for Executives,” that provides an executive overview of the five Project Management processes. For companies sending project managers to the “Competencies and Structures” course, I highly recommend this class to maximize the project manager's effectiveness within the company.
These classes, like many of InfoComm's offerings, can be taken during specified times at InfoComm's headquarters, or are offered for delivery onsite at a company. For more information, visit www.infocomm.org.
Collaboration also acts as an indicator of quality and excellence. As the largest pro-AV trade association, InfoComm has long welcomed collaboration with other groups to harness best practices and uphold intra-industry quality. Whether working with architects, design-build experts, and integrators to create the AV Best Practices Guide, or working with BICSI to ensure there is a comprehensive approach to cabling and wiring according to the new jointly produced AV Reference Manual, InfoComm is committed to harnessing synergies that will increase the public's satisfaction with the end result.
InfoComm's solid relationship with audio, digital signage, collaborative conferencing, content management, education, certification, and project management groups were especially evident during the recent InfoComm 2006 event. But that spirit of collaboration is alive year round because it's our goal to work hand-in-hand with groups that do what they do best to promote quality and a job well done. By working together, we can achieve our industry's quest for quality.
Randal A. Lemke,Ph.D., is executive director of InfoComm International, a trade association for the professional audiovisual and information communications industries.